A residents’ group living near Dublin Airport has lodged a planning appeal which, if successful, could result in the demolition of a €22 million passenger boarding facility, which opened only two years ago.
The St Margaret's/the Ward Residents' Group is challenging a recent decision of Fingal County Council to omit a condition contained in the original grant of planning permission for the building.
The condition stipulated that the permission was only for a seven-year period after which the building would be removed in its entirety and reinstated to its former position.
The single-storey building, which was completed in October 2017, provides waiting and boarding areas for passengers.
Located to the south-east of Terminal 2, the South Gates building provides five boarding gates to serve nine aircraft stands and can accommodate about 1,000 passengers at a time.
Pier 5 project
DAA, the operator of Dublin Airport, said that when it submitted the original planning application in 2016, it was envisaged that the facility would be replaced by the future planned development of Pier 5.
However, DAA said the progression of its Pier 5 project was on hold due to uncertainty about future funding.
The airport authority said it was uncertain whether Pier 5 would be constructed before the expiry of the seven-year limit for the pre-boarding zone building. DAA said it had sought the omission of the condition “in order to ensure the efficient operation of Dublin Airport”.
The council concluded that the retention of the building and its continued operation would not result in any increase in passenger numbers.
“It would not give rise to an intensification of the use of Dublin Airport or any undue impact to nearby residential amenities in terms of noise,” the council said.
However, the residents’ group claims the development represents an intensification of use at the airport and will lead to an increase in noise in the adjoining community.
As a result, the group argues that legislation requires that the application should have been examined by the council in its role as the regulator for noise-related issues at Dublin Airport.
It claimed the legislation designating the council as noise regulator for the airport was brought into operation 30 days before it issued its decision to grant DAA’s application for the omission of the condition limiting the use of the new boarding facility to seven years.
The group's spokesperson, Alvean Finnegan, said it was "totally unacceptable" that council planners did not consider that an appropriate assessment screening report was necessary.
She also claimed that DAA had repeatedly acknowledged in press releases the increase in passengers and flights at Dublin Airport since 2016.
Ms Finnegan said that if the original condition was upheld the facility would not be available to facilitate growing passenger numbers and “would provide a positive effect on noise at Dublin Airport”.
The group criticised the lack of documentation provided by DAA about the noise generated by the development of the South Gates building.
A ruling in the case by An Bord Pleanála is due by March 9th, 2020.